Per Pettersen and Matt Hunter’s Slow-Smoked Baby-Back Ribs.
Paul Wellman

With spring in full swing and summertime bearing down, it’s time to bust out the ’cue. And if you think your skills are up to the challenge, now’s the time to enter The Santa Barbara Independent’s Fourth Annual Sizzling Summer BBQ Contest. Amateurs and pros are welcome, but all had best bring their A game: “I’ve been blown away by the culinary talent we’ve seen in previous years,” said George Yatchisin, Indy food writer and contest master. “We know we have great pro chefs in town, but they raise the bar when they compete against each other. … And our amateur contests have actually changed lives: Frequent contestant George Levinthal has won an L.A. Times food contest now, too, and last year’s top amateur Rodrigo Gimenez gave up his career as an architect to make Argentinean food as a career.”

This year’s contest is sponsored by Rancho San Julian Beef, Hollister Brewing Company, Whole Foods Market, and Killofin Home Irish Peat. We are now accepting entries in three categories: Best Professional BBQ Plate, Best Amateur BBQ Plate, Best Vegetarian BBQ Plate (Pro/Am). (A plate means an entrée and, for overachievers, side dishes.) To enter, submit your name, a short bio, and a description of your entry (extra points to anyone who makes my mouth water) to by May 20. We’ll announce the finalists in early June, as well as the details for our cook-off competition. Winners will earn fame (in these very pages) and fortune (cool prizes), not to mention bragging rights and a reasonably legit excuse to backseat-grill the next time someone’s messing up your meat.


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